Enacted just two months ago, Tennessee’s new
virtual-education measure is receiving much flack from Democrats and
Republicans alike. At issue is the $5,387 in per-pupil funding marked for the
virtual charters opened under the bill’s auspices. Critics assert that these charters
siphon cash from district schools, leaving them bereft of resources. But a word
of caution to these critics: Average per-pupil funding in Tennessee is about
$7,900, according to the Census Bureau, so sending students to a virtual
charter actually saves about 2,500
education dollars each kid. Virtual charters are a smart new way to leverage
twenty-first century technology (and save on building and busing costs to boot).
This type of innovation may even be more important in economic downturns than
it is in booms.
school’ in Tennessee may drain taxpayer funds,” The Commercial Appeal, July 25, 2011.